Photo courtesy Flickr
When inflation was terrible in the 1970s, economist Paul Hawken published The Next Economy, in which he linked the price of money to the price of oil. He talked about the wisdom of choosing to buy products with more of what he called “intelligence” embedded in them a decade before the personal computer dropped a brain prosthesis into our laps.
A tinny saucepan from a corner dime store is a stupid thing. An electronically controlled electric pressure cooker is a smart thing. A pair of cheap cotton tube socks from that same corner store are stupid, state of the art non-shrinking elasticized wool knee socks contour-knit to the foot are indescribably smart.
Smart things perform the same task as stupid things, but they do it better, cheaper in the long run, easier, faster, more safely, and with less attention. Circumstances dictate when to choose stupid over smart. Dime store furnishings might make sense in temporary quarters. I can’t think of any time when a tube sock would be preferable to a high-tech wool one, unless it’s for a kid who loses socks.
The name Hawken may be familiar to you. He was half of Smith and Hawken, whose tiny one color catalogue revolutionized American gardening in 1979.
-30- More after the jump.